Nothing Else Means Nothing Else

Rosa Martínez

The Rio Miel (Honey river) in Guantanamo. Foto: Onel

HAVANA TIMES — “Cuba is one, endless summer.” This old saying, though a bit hackneyed, happens to be true, particularly towards the country’s eastern end, where low temperatures are more and more rare.

Summer as such – the vacation season – starts every year in the last week of June or first week of July.

During this time, different State entities in each of the country’s provinces prepare special food and recreational offers, chiefly for young people and children.

Though not the only ones, the most interesting options are to be found at rivers and beaches, owing to the high temperatures that make everyone want to go somewhere they can cool off.

But, as not every family has the time or financial resources to go to a beach or a river somewhere, on this occasion, to avoid boredom, I went for a stroll around the 24 de Febrero park (or what’s left of it) with my two little girls.

Before we left the house, I told them we would be taking an ecological stroll, to use up some energy (i.e. tire them out a bit), walk around the city and perhaps meet a new friend. I had practically no money, so we wouldn’t be doing a lot of spending.

My two beautiful little girls nodded their heads and we happily headed for the said place, a historical site dating back to the very origin of Guantanamo.

At the playground, Giselle and Tania ran around, jumped up and down, slipped and even went on horse, motorcycle and train rides.

I didn’t have much money, but it was enough for a cheap ice-cream, the kind private cafeterias sell.

When we decided to head back, I told them I had 20 pesos left, that we could buy something else and leave some change for the bus.

“Great!” they said in unison.

“I’ll buy a chocolate popsicle,” one of them said.

“I want some gum,” said the other.

We bought the sweets and I was waiting for the change when the vendor gently took my hand and asked: “Nothing else, m’am?”

“No, we don’t want anything else,” I replied, smilingly.

“Not even a mint?”

I looked at him and said: “No, thank you. We don’t want anything else.”

“I have strawberry, chocolate and vanilla cookies,” the vendor insisted.

“Friend, give me my change, I won’t be buying anything else,” I said to him, annoyed.

“I also have Chupa Chupas…”

Damn, some people don’t understand what “nothing else” means!